Monday, June 30, 2014

Oconee County Code Enforcement Decides To Enforce Ordinance For New Signs While Ignoring Ordinance For Old

SR 316 Intersection

The Oconee County Code Enforcement Office issued a sign permit on Friday for two temporary signs on the property being listed for sale at the southeast corner of SR 316 and the Oconee Connector.

In issuing the signs, the Code Enforcement staff noted in the accompanying documents that the signs must be set back 5 feet from the roadway right of way.

Both signs already have been erected, and B.R. White, director of Code Enforcement, told me on Friday that sign permit holder Andy Homeyer has been informed he must make sure he is following the county ordinance requiring the 5-foot setback.

SR 316 & Connector

Boswell Properties, owned by Jamie Boswell, has signs on the property at the southwest corner of SR 316 and the Oconee Connector.

The county decided not to enforce the same ordinance requiring the setbacks for the Boswell signs.

Boswell is District 10 representative to the 14-member State Transportation Board.

KW Commercial

Homeyer, with KW Commercial, 1361 Jennings Mill Road in Oconee County, took over the listing for the 4.5-acre tract at the southeast corner of SR 316 and the Oconee Connector several weeks ago. It previously had been listed by Boswell Properties.

At that time, Homeyer erected three signs on the property, which is owned by 316 Holding Group and James J. McDonald Jr. of 1010 Prince Avenue in Athens.

White told me Code Enforcement informed Homeyer he needed permits for the signs. County records show Homeyer made his application on June 10.

The V-shared sign at the corner of the property faces both SR 316 and the Oconee Connector, and each side is 8 feet by 4 feet in size. The other sign, about half way between the intersection and the county fire station on the Oconee Connector, also is V-shared and faces the Connector. Each side is 3 feet by 5 feet.

The third sign has been removed.

Boswell Signs

The Homeyer sign at SR 316 and Oconee Connector is at or near the same location as the sign Boswell Properties had erected for the property when it had the listing.

At the time, the county questioned whether the sign had been set back 5 feet from the right of way, documents associated with the sign permit indicate.

County records show Boswell had been informed of the 5-foot setback and that the sign on the southeast corner did not appear to be set back sufficiently and that his sign on the southwest corner clearly did not meet the ordinance

The records show Boswell was asked to move his signs back from the right of way to meet the requirements of the county ordinance.

Boswell did not move the signs.

County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko told me earlier this month that the county decided not to enforce the county ordinance on placement of the Boswell signs after Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis told Benko that the state had decided not to enforce its sign regulations.

Placement of signs in state right of way is a violation of the state restrictions on signs.

Road Widening

Boswell properties is listing a number of properties surrounding the busy SR 316 and Oconee Connector intersection.

The intersection will be improved when widening of the roadway to Butler’s Crossing gets underway.

Ultimately, the roadway will be widened all the way to Watkinsville.

The State Transportation Board makes decisions on which projects get state funding. The Mars Hill Road widening was presented for July letting at the June 19 meeting of that Board.

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